A driver in South Florida faces vehicular homicide charges after he allegedly slammed into a family van while speeding and running a red light, resulting in the death of a 14-year-old boy.

trafficlight1-225x300Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol say the crash occurred in Hillsborough County, shortly after a police cruiser had given up chasing the reckless driver at high speeds out of concern for public safety.

Toxicology reports are not yet back, but the driver reportedly has a host of prior traffic violations, including two citations for driving with a suspended license.

Red-light running continues to be a major problem in Florida. The Federal Highway Administration reports failure to stop at a red light is the No. 1 most common cause of all urban crashes.

The latest report from the Florida Highway Patrol, 22 percent of all crashes in 2013 were attributed to running a red-light. In those cases, injuries were reported in 45 percent of all incidents, compared to 30 percent in other types of crashes. In fact, the “T-bone” intersection crashes that most frequently occur as a result of red-light running are the type of impact with the potential to cause some of the most serious injuries.

Fifty percent of the injuries and deaths reported as a result of red light running were suffered by either pedestrians or the occupants of the other vehicle.

An estimated 165,000 people are injured annually in the U.S. as a result of red-light violations.

While sometimes a momentary distraction can result in running a red light, the agency reports those cause red light crashes are three times as likely to have numerous speeding convictions on their record.

Data culled from red light cameras recently revealed there is a red light runner at every urban traffic signal approximately once every 20 minutes. This is despite the fact 93 percent of drivers surveyed by AAA Foundation indicated red-light running was “unacceptable.” Meanwhile, an astonishing one-third admitted they had run a red light at least once in the last month.

The collective cost of these wrecks exceeds $230 billion every year in the U.S.

But the worst part about all of it is, these wrecks, which are 100 percent preventable, continue to occur. Many red-light runner violators often indicate they were “trying to save time” or they “weren’t paying attention.”

That kind of split-second poor judgment is fatal.

The one bit of good news to be gleaned form the FDHSMV report is that red-light running has decreased among the nearly six dozen communities in Florida where red-light safety cameras operate.

From 2013 to 2014, total violations are reportedly down 14 percent.

Among some of the specific findings:

  • Sideswipe crashes in Miami were down 28 percent, and down 54 percent in Miami Gardens.
  • Front-to-rear crashes were down 38 percent in Hillsborough at intersections with the red-light cameras.
  • Sarasota communities reported an 11 percent drop in crashes and citations at intersections with the cameras.
  • Coral Springs reported the injury rate at those intersections is down 20 percent.

Lee County does not yet have these traffic safety devices installed at intersections, though local law enforcement does routinely hold red-light running reduction operations. However, deputies can’t be at every location all the time. Plus, the cameras aren’t full-proof. The fatal crash in Tampa recently occurred in a community that had the cameras.

Those injured by the careless, reckless actions of red-light runners should immediately contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.

Additional Resources:

Driver faces vehicular homicide charge after Jeep hits van, killing boy, Jan. 21, 2015, By Dan Sullivan, St. Petersburg Times

More Blog Entries:

McIntosh v. Progressive Design & Engineering et al. – Troubling Traffic Engineering, Jan. 18, 2015, Fort Myers Car Accident Lawyer Blog